It was on this day in 1886 that David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, was born. It was he who, on May 14, 1948, pronounced that, after 2,000 years, the state of Israel was to be reborn. Later that evening, at midnight on May 15, 1948, the British Mandate over Palestine expired and the modern state of Israel came into being. What must have seemed like an impossible dream less than a decade before became a miraculous reality – seemingly overnight. Years later, Ben Gurion addressed this aspect of Israel’s history, commenting to a visiting dignitary:
“In Israel, in order to be a realist you have to believe in miracles. Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles is not a realist.”
When we study the history of Israel, from the very beginning, we see that if not for miraculous interposition, Israel would not exist. Time and again, the Creator intervened on behalf of chosen people like Sarah who was past the age of bearing a child and yet gave birth to Isaac. It was the same for Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, who after being barren for twenty years conceived and bore Jacob.
When in Egypt, under the heel of Pharaoh, Israel was threatened with annihilation. Again, God intervened and brought them out of bondage, preserved them in a desolate wasteland and strengthened them to conquer the land of Canaan. Israel’s history is a vast collection of miraculous victories in the face of overwhelming odds that has continued to this very day. And so it seems that Ben Gurion was right; to be a realist, you do have to believe in miracles -especially where Israel is concerned.
The reason is because only the God of Israel performs miracles. He’s the only One who can take a bad situation and create a good outcome. He’s the only One who can take a handful of people, slaves no less, and transform them into a mighty nation. Here’s what He said to that nation in Deuteronomy 7:6-8:
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you.”
Because He loves His people, He will multiply a small measure of meal and oil in order to preserve a widow through a famine. Because He loves us, He will take loaves and fishes from a small boy and feed thousands. He will take someone from obscurity, with little or no formal education, fill them with His Spirit and His Word, and then place them before thousands of people to declare His Word. Time and again, He takes the least among mankind and transforms them into something purposeful. And He does these things, not because of them, but because of Him. We are all living proof that He takes the impossible situation and transforms it into a miracle.
As we continue to acknowledge the Feast of Tabernacles, we remember that Israel wandered the desert for four decades and on each and everyone of those days God performed a miracle. Every morning they went out and gathered manna. When they were thirsty, He provided water. He was their only source of provision every day without fail. It can’t be overstated, were it not for miracles, Israel would not exist.
And so, whatever impossible situation we find ourselves in, we must take courage in the fact that He takes what might seem to be an impossible dream and transforms it into a miraculous reality. Where God is concerned, to believe in miracles is to be a realist.